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PERFERCTO FLORESCA VS PHILEX MINING CORPORATION FACTS: On June 28, 1967, some employees of Philex Mining Corporation died as a result

of the cave-in that buried them in the tunnels of the copper mine (Tuba, Benguet) during underground operations. Allegedly, Philex was in violation of government rules and regulations for negligently and deliberately failing to take the required precautions for the protection of the lives of its men working underground. The Petitioners (Floresca et al) are the heirs of the deceased employees of Philex Mining Corporation. Petitioners moved to claim their benefits pursuant to the Workmen’s Compensation Act before the Workmen’s Compensation Commission. They also petitioned before the regular courts and sued Philex for additional damages. Philex invoked that they can no longer be sued because the petitioners have already claimed benefits under the WCA. ISSUE: Whether or not Floresca et al can claim benefits and at the same time sue. HELD: Under the law, Floresca et al could only do either one. If they filed for benefits under the WCA then they will be prohibited from proceeding with a civil case before the regular courts. On the contrary, if they sued before the civil courts then they would also be prohibited from claiming benefits under the WCA. The SC however ruled that Floresca et al are excused from this deficiency due to ignorance of the fact. Had they been aware of such then they may have not availed of such a remedy. The SC ruled that the dismissal of the case in the lower court be reversed and case is remanded for further proceedings. However, if in case the petitioners win in the lower court, whatever award may be granted, the amount given to them under the WCA should be deducted. The SC emphasized that if they would go strictly by the book in this case then the purpose of the law may be defeated. (Refer to excerpt below)
“WHEREFORE, THE TRIAL COURT’S ORDER OF DISMISSAL IS HEREBY REVERSED AND SET ASIDE AND THE CASE IS REMANDED TO IT FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS. SHOULD A GREATER AMOUNT OF DAMAGES BE DECREED IN FAVOR OF HEREIN PETITIONERS, THE PAYMENTS ALREADY MADE TO THEM PURSUANT TO THE WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION ACT SHALL BE DEDUCTED. NO COSTS.”

Justice Gutierrez dissenting No civil suit should prosper after claiming benefits under the WCA. If employers are already liable to pay benefits under the WCA they should not be compelled to bear the

cost of damage suits or get insurance for that purpose. Theexclusion provided by the WCA can only be properly removed by the legislature NOT the SC.